Repeat Bar Examinees – What to do if you have failed the bar.


Failing the California bar exam is incredibly disappointing.  It is also a very confusing time as you are faced with the unexpected and the unknown.  No one undertakes the California bar exam without the hope and intention of passing.  However, on any given bar exam round in California, as many as 50%, or more, of the bar exam examinees will be unsuccessful. Visit the California State Bar website at for the current bar exam statistics for the California bar exam. While it is not much consolation that having failed you are not alone, it should at least help you realize that this is no easy task for anyone.

What To Expect

You will receive written confirmation of your bar exam results in the mail.  You will also receive a printout of your scores for all sections of the bar exam along with your individual scores on each of the five essays and your performance test.  In this letter you will be given a breakdown of your “raw written” and “scaled written” scores. For the MBE portion of the exam, you will receive both a “scaled” score and a score indicating by subject where you scored in relation to others taking the same exam.

What To Do

Interpreting your scores is a necessary first step towards addressing your problems and paving the way to success on the bar exam.  The bar examiners are not plotting against you nor is there a bar exam conspiracy.  However, interpreting your scores is not an easy task and you should take it upon yourself to seek out the advice of a professional.  In addition, it will be very important to have your exam answers reviewed. The California bar examiners will automatically send your exam answers to you. However, it often takes several weeks for the bar examiners to send out your exams. Therefore, your score sheet will be all you have to go on for the first several weeks.

If you ultimately choose to sign up with Bar None Review’s Score Maximizer Program, you will receive a review of your past bar exams.  This review will identify missed issues on each essay exam and performance test and will provide you with a critical evaluation of your writing and analysis.  This will enable you to focus your time on your problem areas and make the necessary improvement in order to pass.

Bar None Review Can Help

Not knowing what to do and being without a plan are perhaps the most difficult aspect of the next couple of weeks.  It is extremely important that whatever your choices are; to take a bar review program or to study on your own, that you develop a plan of attack for yourself.

One of the first steps in determining what you need to do and how to develop your plan of attack is to figure out what went wrong in the first place.  Bar None Review will provide a free review of your bar exam scores. This service is available for a limited period of time beginning on the Monday after each bar exam result weekend. Review of scores will be by appointment and may be conducted over the phone, and via email and is available on a first come, first served basis.  Bar None Review’s course instructors will be available by phone to assist you and interpret your scores.

In order to participate in score review you must provide Bar None Review a copy of your score sheet provided to you by the California Bar Examiners.  Score sheets are accepted via email only. All examinee information is kept confidential and will not be released to anyone.

Because the scoring of the California Bar Exam is scaled it is not easy to understand what a given score means nor is it clear where you will need to focus from numbers alone.  For example, if an examinee scores consistently the same scores on their essays (i.e., all sixties or three fifty-fives and three sixties) it will indicate a different problem than an examinee’s scores that have a greater range (i.e., one 45, one 75, two 65s and two 60s etc.)  Students whose scores are very consistent will likely mean that the student has a writing problem that is consistent and across the board.  This type of writing problem is generally not subject specific and once it is fixed is fixed for all topics.  For the student whose scores are more spread out and ranging, typically this student’s problems lie both in writing style as well as subject knowledge and ability to spot issues.

A great deal more can be determined from your scores.  However, it is really beneficial to have these scores reviewed by someone who truly knows what they mean and can then give you direction as to how to proceed and where to focus. That is where we come in. To participate in a free score review, submit your score sheet and a daytime phone number via email to:

Attend a FREE Workshop –

Stay tuned for our online “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop” and our “Coffee with the Bar Exam Guru” series. To learn more about our upcoming workshops and to reserve your seat call today at (213) 529-0990 or send us an email.